Archive for May, 2013

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] USB Instructions

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Kodak Scanner USB Instructions Insert Pink 4J3634 - 2005Words cannot express how hard it is to use USB plugs properly.

This is not particularly retro — in fact, it's from 2005. But I find it so amusing that I have to share it. I believe this insert (about 5 inches wide) came with a Kodak scanner that my father bought some years ago.

The back side of the paper is blank.

[ From Kodak Scanner Insert, 2005 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you read instruction manuals before using electronic gadgets?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] 32X Through the Keyhole

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Sega 32X Genesis Electronic Gaming Monthly ad - 1994Surely you have newer locks in your house.

I bought a Sega 32X for $30 new in 1995 or '96 at Toys"R"Us. They were on clearance because nobody wanted them. (I also bought a Virtual Boy for $30 this way around the same time.) There were good reasons why no one wanted them: chiefly, because better machines like the PlayStation and Saturn were out there, and most games for the 32X weren't very good.

Still, I have a soft spot for this system. It touches some fundamental nerdy part of me that likes convoluted electronic expansion modules — it means more to collect, and more to mess with. I have a bunch of 32X games, perhaps even half of the entire library for that system, but I rarely play any of them. I seem to recall the Star Wars Arcade title being pretty good for it. Virtua Racing wasn't half bad either.

By the way, the only explanation I can muster for the inclusion of the keyhole in the ad above is that it's some sort of sexual metaphor, much like those found in Sega's other 32X ads at the time (See "The Sega Mating Game," Retro Scan of the Week, 2008). In other words, I guess we're spying on a Genesis and a 32X having electronic intercourse.

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, November 1994, p.180 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: In an alternate universe where there was no Sega Saturn, do you think the 32X could have held its own against the competition for a few years?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Side Pocket for Game Boy

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Data East Side Pocket for Nintendo Game Boy ad - 1991The balls are moving and the cue ball hasn't even hit them yet. Spooky.

[ From Video Games and Computer Entertainment, January 1991, back cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: In your opinion, what's the best pool/billiards video game of all time?

Woman Needs Help with ASCII Banner for Uncle's Memorial

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Fuzzy MemoryJust today I received an email asking for help in producing an ASCII-art style printed banner for a memorial service that will take place this Saturday, May 11th, 2013. They will be honoring a lifetime IBM veteran who passed away recently at the age of 69.

I have a few ideas on how to do it, but I'm short on time this week, so I'm hoping someone out there can help her. Here is her email (posted with permission):

Hello. My uncle recently passed away quite unexpectedly at the age of 69. We are holding his memorial on Saturday, May 11th. I have been racking my brain on a way to honor him at his memorial. My uncle was a lifetime IBM employee and computer pioneer.

In 1979, when I was 9 years old, he gave me a banner for my birthday. It was from the old dot matrix printers. It had a silhouette of Snoopy on the top of his dog house and it said "Happy Birthday Chimene". I literally thought it was the coolest thing. This was before home computers and home printers for our family. The letters were made with x or o or maybe dashes. Because my brain had no conceptual framework for the world of computers, I literally wondered if it was created by magic.

I would like to have one of these made for my uncle for his memorial. Do you have any idea how I could go about getting this done? I am not tech savvy so I would love to find someone that can do this for me and do it quickly. I know that there would be no better way for me to honor my uncle and I am desperate to find a way to get this done. Any help you can provide would be so greatly appreciated.

Chimene

Post your suggestions or offers to help in the comments, and Chimene will keep an eye on them. I'll pass along your email address (leave it in the comment form) if she wants to contact you further.

[Update - I helped Chimene construct a banner using "banner" for *nix systems and an old Snoopy ASCII art drawing. She later sent me a photo of the print-out, which she used at the service. ]

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] A Trunk For Your Disks

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Elephant Memory Systems Trunk Floppy Disk Storage Box ad - 1983An elephant never forgets your Atari 2600 cartridges.

In a previous Retro Scan, I cataloged one of my least-favorite brands of floppy disk storage boxes. This time, I thought I'd share an ad for the Elephant Memory Systems Trunk, one of my favorite disk storage boxes.

As far as floppy disk box designs go, the Trunk is my favorite mostly because of nostalgia. This was one of the first floppy boxes I ever used; my dad had bought one to store our Atari 800 or Apple II floppies in (can't remember which, although I still have it in my closet). Compared to other disk boxes, this one feels solid, and the build quality is high.

The Trunk does have one serious drawback, though: The lid covers so much of its outward-facing surface area that it is very hard to pick up and move around without accidentally opening it and spilling its contents on the floor.

Still, it's a pretty good floppy box. This and the Flip 'N File.

[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, inside back cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Estimate how many 5.25″ floppy disks you own. What system(s) are they for?